Misuari-Anwar link reported in leaked US diplomatic cable

(The Star) – Links between Philippine rebel chieftain Nur Misuari and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were reported in a leaked United States diplomatic cable from the American embassy in Manila.

The 2007 report to the State Department described Misuari, the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, as someone who apparently still harboured aspirations to “re-gain” Sabah from Malaysia.

It said Malaysian authorities were concerned about Misuari’s contacts with Anwar, who was described as the MNLF leader’s old friend.

“MG Dolorfino (Armed Forces of the Philippines National Capital Region Commander Major General Ben Dolorfino) commented that Malaysia is not only concerned about Misuari’s intentions toward Sabah… but also about his recent contacts with Anwar,” the cable stated.

The cable was among over 250,000 documents leaked by the WikiLeaks website in 2010 and can be read atwikileaks.org/cable/2007/05/07MANILA1534.html

The cable said Misuari was a strong advocate for the recovery of Sabah from Malaysia and was still bitter towards Malaysia for arresting him and turning him over to the Philippine authorities in January 2002.

“Misuari once commented to MG Dolorfino that when the timing was right, the MNLF could invade Sabah at 5am and control it by 7am,” it added.

The cable reported Dolorfino telling the embassy’s political officer that a special envoy from then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had met Misuari and told him not to meddle in Malaysia’s domestic affairs.

One of Anwar’s aides, when contacted on Tuesday evening, said he would notify Anwar about the report but the Opposition Leader has yet to respond.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, when asked about the WikiLeaks report yesterday, blamed Barisan Nasional’s political leadership for trying to link Anwar’s association with Misuari to the Sabah intrusion, which he said was a “wild allegation”.

“Anwar has made his position (on his association with Misuari) clear. At that point of time (of the WikiLeaks report) Nur Misuari was the governor of Mindanao, so many leaders met Misuari.

“To try and connect this to what is happening in Lahad Datu is too much and I think the people should give a stern warning to the Government against making such allegations,” added Azmin.

Anwar’s daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said it was unacceptable to only highlight Anwar’s association with Misuari while ignoring the ties between government leaders with Misuari and other players linked to the Sabah incursion.

Misuari told The Star on Monday that he was close to Anwar and that the two last met several months ago in Jakarta, Indonesia.